National Winnie the Pooh Day
by Amber Brandt
Did you know today is National Winnie the Pooh Day? January 18th is the day chosen to celebrate our favorite “chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” in honor of his creator’s birthday, author A.A. Milne, born January 18, 1882.
Known simply as “Pooh Bear” by his biggest — and littlest — fans, Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a black bear who lived at the London Zoo during WWI. Originally owned by a resident of Winnipeg, Canada, she was give the name “Winnie” as a term of endearment for her hometown. The author’s son, Christopher Robin would often visit the bear (and was rumored to hang out in her cage with her!) and eventually named his own teddy bear in her honor. The name “Pooh” was later adopted from a swan with the same name, as mentioned in the introduction of Milne’s “When We Were Very Young.” Milne began writing his sweet adventures about the beloved pair beginning in 1926. All the other characters including Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Too were based on Christopher Robin’s other stuffed animals. Additional characters were inspired by animals that lived in the woods near the Milne home.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that Disney bought the rights to the collection of books. In 1977 “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” became the first feature-length animated film about the honey-loving bear. In 1993, the Walt Disney Company confirmed Pooh Bear is second only in popularity to Mickey Mouse the world over. That’s really saying something!
Today the classic children’s stories have been translated into almost every known language. A conservative estimate for the total sales was over 20 million copies by 1996.